long mission trip to Haiti back in 1985 which I found so interesting. Besides me, she gave this award to nine other outstanding bloggers so please go to her site to read about them and check out their blogs.
Along with the award, I am supposed to tell you about ten things that make me happy. I'm sure you all have heard me grumble so much in the year since I lost my job, you're wondering if ANYTHING is capable of bringing a smile to my face but I do feel happy about much in my world.
WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:
-1: My three sons - Shawn, 39, Alex, 27, and Jeremy, 25. I've blogged about them in the past
and, occasionally they give me a wee bit of grief, but, really, they are about as perfect as
any children can be - and they always have been. I raised them pretty much alone, except
for the help of Elmira, with whom I couldn't have managed. Financially, it was difficult, at
times, but I was fortunate to have a very good forensic nursing position with the city and
county of San Francisco until the massive budget cuts one year ago.
Jeremy ( before his Locks for Love donation, Shawn and Alex )
-2. Cruising - I love being at sea and, during my 21 years of working as a forensic nurse for
San Francisco, it was one of the few times, I could really relax, feel at peace, no beeper
hanging somewhere on my body, get a comfortable night's sleep and travel all over the
world without having to pack and unpack. In the last 15 years, I've done 77 cruises with
Royal Caribbean, all over the world. When I first started cruising, I hated sea days and
wanted to be in port every day. With maturity, I've come to love the transatlantic crossings,
with six days at sea, to walk on the deck, under the stars at night and, even on twelve
day Mediterranean cruises, I like a day at sea in between ports! Crew give their all to make
you feel pampered and I leave the ships feeling renewed and ready to tackle whatever may
come my way.
View from my cabin on the Rhapsody of the Seas
-3. Living in the San Francisco area - those who follow my blog know what this city means to
me. I've been in love with her since I first visited when I was 18-years-old and, at 65, though
I know there are problems here, I still see her charm and beauty. When Sony Holland sings
that beautiful song, "On a San Francisco High," penned by her talented husband, Jerry
Holland, I almost feel it was written for me. Sony Holland Sings "On a San Francisco High".
View of San Francisco from Sausalito with a visiting European yacht passing through
-4. The Queens - Several years ago, three of my beloved forensic nurse pals, Claire, Madeline,
and Sherry, who often cruise and travel together, formed a group on Royal Caribbean's
Monarch of the Seas and called ourselves "the Queens." The crew always treated us like
queens and we really went overboard ( not literally ). We acquired various crowns - tiaras,
crown t-shirts, earrings and various jewelry, lovely queen goblets from which to drink our
wine, etc. Gradually, we inducted a few more select queens - Diana, Diane and Jeannie -
into the Royal Family. We always have the most wonderful time when we are together,
especially on cruise ships and people are always inquiring of the crew, "Who are those
Claire, Madeline, Carmen, and Sherry ( I think that is Queen-to-be Jeannie on the side )
-5. The ocean - I enjoy living so close to the ocean. Since I moved to San Francisco, I've never
been more than five miles from the Pacific or the Bay. I've seen it in all of its moods. I've
also been to many of the oceans and seas of the world - the Atlantic, the Caribbean, the
Gulf of Mexico, the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, the Baltic, the Adriatic and many
more. The shores they touch, the people I've met, the cultures I've experiences, the
countries I've seen - all fill me with happiness.
-6. Good food - I have been so fortunate in my lifetime to have traveled over much of the earth
and to have eaten at some really wonderful restaurants. I have tried all kinds of excellent
and superb wines and beverages. It has been such an honor to be invited into the
homes of people in countries where I have visited. I have so many special memories.
The wonderful grilled seafood platter at Medulio in Barcelona
Breakfast at the Royal Oak Hotel in Shiga, Japan
My appetizer plate, 65th birthday, Orso 80, Rome, Italy
The famous garlic crab at Crustacean in San Francisco
-7. Crawling into a bed with freshly laundered sheets - nothing feels quite so good as this,
especially after a hard day at work.
-8. Massage - if I could afford it, I would have one every day. Unfortunately, the last one I had
was when I visited my mother in Columbus, GA in November - I had two then, thanks to Jen,
the daughter of my high school friends. I have chronic back problems and, now, arthritis is
causing me to have increased joint pain so I would love to be able to indulge myself. With
retirement, it just isn't affordable - and I have no partner to pamper me. Ah, to be able to go
back to Bali or Turkey for a massage that cost $10 an hour! To me, nothing is so luxurious
-9. Flowers - I seldom get flowers but they always cheer me up, whether I see them in the
landscape or they are delivered to my door. I always love going home to GA in the spring
when the dogwoods and azaleas are in riotous bloom and wysteria is hanging from arbors
and fences, scenting the air with such fragrant perfume.
Two dozen roses, champagne and wine from captain and hotel director on a recent cruise
Tulips at Butchart Gardens, British Columbia
-10. My special friends -
*Camilla Arthur, who I've known since 9th grade and boarding school at Sacred Academy.
Through our 51 years, our paths have crossed time and again and she remains a dear
*Luther Stanton and his wife, Beth - I did a blog about him...we've known each other
since high school and, except for his hair which is turning white, he seems like the same
crazy, sweet guy he was fifty years ago. Beth is wonderful .
*Martha Genin, my nursing school classmate, who became my best friend, my maid of
honor and my oldest son's godmother. Somewhere along the way, we grew distant for
about fifteen years but, thankfully, we are stronger friends now than ever.
*Patty Crane - a forensic nurse friend who abandoned California and moved away,
getting her PhD, but always remaining there for me.
*Brenda Garison - a forensic nurse in Beaumont, Texas who has my utmost admiration
for her work with abused children. She has traveled often with me and our memories of
our massage in Turkey forever bring me to laughter.
*Phil Zaragoza - one of the two best social workers in San Francisco and a wonderful
friend who has also been a traveling companion and support.
*Silvia Solorzano - the other best social worker in San Francisco, who worked with me
years ago at SF Rape Treatment, a champion of women, a great traveling companion.
*Maggie Hewitt - a wonderful nurse practitioner friend who worked with me at SF Rape
treatment and became "beta mom" to my boys. She slept on my couch every time she
was on call and I missed her so much when our jobs ended and she moved to Santa
*Sally Thresher - a brilliant nurse practitioner and forensic nurse, my boss briefly, who
left San Francisco. She is one of the smartest women I ever met.
*Elaine Martin - my sister, almost, who worked with me at both SF Rape Treatment and
CASARC. I miss her so much since our job ended. She has been such a support to
me over the years and I love her dearly. We always wanted to travel together but never
could since we always covered for each other to be away!
Now the other thing that I must do is give this award to some other deserving blogsters. I hope you will check out their sites and say hello. Please copy The Appreciation Award from my page and follow through with listing ten things that make you happy and make the award to people you feel are deserving.
-1. Kary at My Farmhouse Kitchen has a blog that reflects her love of cooking, gardening and
photography. She has had cooking classes from some of the greats in northern California
( she is a "great" herself ). I wish I had know her the two years my youngest was studying
at Cal Poly but I'm going to meet her anyway when I'm down that way for a conference!
-2. Jo at Poetic Shutterbug has an outstanding blog which reflects her diverse interest in
travel, photography, writing and poetry and music. She is a friend and was instrumental in
getting me started on blogging. I am sure that, sometimes, she wishes she hadn't
-3. Icy BC at Dances of Dreams brings amazing photography to the blogworld, even in
winter's bleakest days. Her trips to the Belle Isle Conservatory always result in the most
beautiful floral photography. She writes beautiful poety and also has two other blogs,
-4. Jenny at Jenny Matlock...off on a tangent has us all busy with a Thursday alphabet meme.
Her blog is always fun as she writes about her life, a birthday party for her 80-year-old father,
her weiner dog slurping up her cereal when she set the bowl down beside the tub so she
could shampoo her hair - what, doesn't everyone eat cereal in the bathtub?
-5. Kamana at Jounalling Through Photos shares with us beautiful photography and her
thoughts from the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. I always enjoy seeing the beautiful
scenery in a place so far away from the rush hour traffic and fast pace of life in California.